If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home

If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home

by Lucy Worsley

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620402351
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 10/08/2013
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 184,010
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Lucy Worsley is Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace State Apartments, the Banqueting House in Whitehall, and Kew Palace in Kew Gardens. The author of The Courtiers: Splendor and Intrigue in the Georgian Court at Kensington Palace and Cavalier: A Tale of Chivalry, Passion, and Great Houses, and My Name is Victoria, a novel for young readers, she lives in London.

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From the Publisher

"Who could not be enthralled by the history of toilet paper? Anyone who lives in a home with a kitchen, living room, bathroom and bedroom will delight in reading this history of the development of home life." —-Kirkus Starred Review

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If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book isn't intended to be a scholarly dissertation on the history of living. Instead, it is a enjoyable amble through the rooms that we all still occupy today. As such, I had a great time reading the trivia of days gone by. Good read! Now I'm off to watch the BBC television version that's still offered its website...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be very interesting and informative. I do not understand why it does not have a higher rating. It is well organized and filled with historical tidbits. There is also a photo collection at the end that is also referenced with links throughout the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is poorly written. The chapters need structural overhauls as the points jump around without a clear line of development in the chapter or in the paragraphs. Even more distressing, this book contains historical inaccuracies. I wish the author had done some research rather than pepper each chapter with random anecdotes, some of which are not accurate. The chapters do not contain footnotes!! The author does not cite her sources!!
Sophy0075 More than 1 year ago
I was very disappointed in this book, given the employment position of its author. If one knew absolutely nothing about the history of the development of the modern house, it would be passable; however, a cursory Google search on "history kitchen" or of any other room in a modern home would yield as much, if not more, information, fairly quickly. Ms Worsley also had an annoying habit of attempting to make a joke at the end of each chapter - a joke that, to my mind, fell flat and often was colored by her political beliefs and opinions. Frankly, the book read like a tv script. Not surprising, I guess, because the BBC produced the tv series with Ms Worsley as the announcer before she set fingers to computer typewriter. Only get this book if it is free.
Sarjevane More than 1 year ago
Each chapter is about a specific subject about the home, which makes it very organized. However, the insertion of the author's comments on modern life disrupts the reading and push one to question the historical quality of the book. Overall, it was entertaining and I learned a few things.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got through about half and didn't find it worth finishing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Total wadte of time, money and nook space. Minus stars.
cjwedwin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of The HomeIn the book, If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home, author, historian and museum curator Lucy Worsley explores the fascinating social history of various customs and practices of life in the private sphere of the home. Worsley starts with The Bedroom, where, until recently, most people entered the world, and continues on to The Bathroom, The Living Room, and The Kitchen. Each chapter discusses the history and evolution of various aspects of everyday life such as privacy (everyone slept in the same room), childbirth (a communal event), toilet paper (an `arsewisp¿¿ a handful of straw), cluttered Victorian drawing rooms (the more `stuff¿ displayed in a room, the better), and etymology (the word dessert derives from the French word desert, `the creation of absence¿ of the main course followed by sweets.)If Walls Could Talk is a companion book to the popular BBC television series of the same name. However, this book holds its own as a curious and thought-provoking read.
arielfl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the second book that I've read based on a BBC radio program. The first was A History of the World in 100 Objects which I enjoyed a great deal. I wish we had radio programs like that here. In any case the author of this book is the head of the agency that preserves several important British landmarks such as The Tower of London which is why the history of the home is told from a decidedly British point of view. If other cultures contributed to what constitutes our modern dwellings, the ideas are not explored here. Although the book could be quite dry at times, even when recounting titillating topics there were several things I quite liked. References to the Tudors and Stewart periods are sprinkled throughout and Anne Boleyn in particular is mentioned a few times for Tudor fans. Downton Abbey fans also get a glimpse of the upstairs/ downstairs life. This book would be great for those who are looking to learn more about British history as it relates to the home.
csyb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
IF WALLS COULD TALK is a fascinating social history of the home. Written in a very chatty and informal manner, it is a breezy read that even the most history-adverse will find fun and easy to get through.A few caveats, however:1) This is about the BRITISH home. Actually, to be even more specific, it is about the ENGLISH home, as Scotland, Wales and Ireland are barely mentioned. American (not to mention non-Western hemisphere) domestic dwellings and habits evolved differently. And while the United States is mentioned more often than other European or indeed, other UK countries, many of the conclusions drawn pertain specifically to England. For example, Worsley ends her chapter on bed furnishings with a rapturous appreciation for Terence Conran (a kind of British Swinging Sixties Martha Stewart, with more emphasis on home furnishings than crafts) and the ubiquitous duvet, which has made top sheets, blankets and bedspreads obsolete.Which comes as news to American households, where the top sheet still holds sway. And while duvets are certainly common, bedspreads and quilts are also still very much in use. And did you know Americans store their hopes and dreams in closets? Here I thought my closets mostly held clothes, bed linens - have to store the top sheets somewhere - and far too much junk. (British homes, in general, don't have closets. Yes, it shocked me, too, when I moved there. But Worsley never mentions the British equivalent, which is the box room.)Having lived in London for five years, I spotted the differences immediately. Alas, Worsley seems to have little knowledge of the US, aside from that gleaned from Thanksgiving episodes of American sitcoms shown on British telly, so her US references and conclusions are a bit off.Still, if you are at all interested in English social history (and I am), this book is a must.2) This book is about the HOME. Y'know, the place where you do all the things in private that you would not dream of doing in public (although Worsley does walk through how the notion of privacy - and therefore the home - has changed over the centuries). Therefore, Worsley is not squeamish about activities that take place in the home. And that includes sex, masturbation, bodily waste evacuation, farting, bathing, childbirth, death, and many more topics that were deemed too indelicate for Victorian female ears. Luckily, while I am female, I am not Victorian, and I thought Worsley did a splendid job of walking the line between being forthright but nowhere near gross. We're all human, and these are basic human functions. And it's fascinating how social mores and ideas of acceptable social behavior have changed over time.However, if your ears and eyes would prefer to read like it is 1888, then perhaps this isn't the book for you.
Beamis12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One can tell when reading this book that the author had a great time and a fascination for her subject. Although comparisons can be made to Bryson's "At Home", I found this book to be less rambling and more centered. She takes the major rooms of the house and traces them and everything that goes on in them from dressing, underwear (or lack of such)to chamber pots. She also traces the different time periods and shows how they and the people in them have changed. It is mostly her writing style though that draws the reader in and makes them privy to all she chooses to impart, with a great deal of humor thrown in.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fascinating history of how "Home" has evolved. I enjoyed the walk through time, room by room as each family member would have experienced day to day routine.
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This book is advertised at $3.99 but when i go to purchase it B&N is charging $9.49. Both a great deal but very misleading.
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